SeaWorld San Diego unveils new high-tech boat to help save marine life

SAN DIEGO - SeaWorld San Diego has a new high-tech tool they plan to use in the water to help rescue marine mammals.

SeaWorld officials told 10News they have rescued more than 7,000 sick, injured and orphaned marine mammals in the last 50 years.

A recent commercial marking their 50 years in business is now on the air, but since the release of the film "Blackfish" last year, SeaWorld has been working to improve its image.

Park President John Reilly told 10News the team of zoological professionals at SeaWorld is the best in the world.

"And they're committed to mental wellbeing, the mental and the physical health of the animals in our care, as well as the animals in the wild," said Reilly.

According to a new Associated Press report compiling federal data, SeaWorld's survival rate for bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions actually exceeds estimates for those in the wild. However, the life expectancy for captive killer whales was about 27 years, compared to 49 years for those in the wild.

Focusing on all the marine mammals they've saved, and with the help of San Diego City Councilwoman Lori Zapf, SeaWorld christened a new rescue boat Thursday.

"This boat will enable our dedicated teams of zoological professionals to return to the wild sick and injured sea mammals that they've rescued off the coast of San Diego," said Reilly.

The boat is a Boston Whaler with two 600-horsepower engines. It's a 27-foot boat -- bigger than the last one -- and can carry more weight.

"If you think about some of the very large mammals that we rehabilitate and take back to the wild, sea lions, elephant seals … it takes a very special vehicle, so we're thrilled to have a second chance," said Reilly

The customized vessel is named "Second Chance."

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